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CSL to apply for flu vaccine registration

New clinical data on the vaccine against the H5N1 strain of avian influenza will enable CSL, the Melbourne-based company, to seek approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration.

CSL Ltd., the world's second-largest maker of blood plasma products, said it will apply to Australia's drugs regulator to register a vaccine designed to protect people against a pandemic sparked by bird flu. CSL is among more than 20 drug makers trying to speed production of vaccines to help governments prepare for a possible pandemic that health officials said could kill millions of people. CSL is the only supplier of influenza vaccines based in the southern hemisphere.

"The ultimate goal of our research program is to develop a pandemic vaccine which uses the lowest dose of antigen, which can offer cross-protection against similar but non-identical bird flu strains, and which lasts as long as possible,'' Andrew Cuthbertson, CSL's chief scientific officer said. Shares of CSL rose as much as 1.3%, on the Australian Stock Exchange. They have gained 8% since January 1st. The Australian government contributed A$7.2 million ($5.5 million) to the costs of CSL's pandemic vaccine development program including the vaccine trials.

"The vaccine was found to be safe and well-tolerated in the study population of adults aged 18 to 65,'' the company said. "Results of a subsequent study undertaken in infants, young children and the elderly are expected to be available later this year.''


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